Contact Me:

Questions? Suggestions for a post? Corrections? Please contact me at kristimarion@gmail.com

Friday, November 4, 2011

Homemade Model Magic

My second-grader recently had a school assignment to make a model of an African animal. Two pounds of Crayola® Model Magic® costs around $20. I thought perhaps those nifty DIYers would have a recipe or tutorial online and I wasn't disappointed. We whipped up a batch at home, using only two ingredients and water! Since I had these on hand, it didn't cost me, but I'd estimate it at around almost $3, especially if you choose to buy generic. This is a great homemade clay option for those who are have gluten sensitivities and allergies, as it doesn't contain wheat flour, like many homemade clay recipes do.

We had fun making the modeling clay and the model! I added food coloring to tint. It worked, but for strong color, use stronger coloring gels. We painted our model with craft paint.


DIY Model Magic


Ingredients


2 cups baking soda

1 cup corn starch
1 1/2 cups cold water

Instructions


Combine 2 cups of baking soda, 1 cup of cornstarch and 1 1/2 cups of cold water in a pan. Stir the ingredients until you have a smooth consistency.


Place the pan over your stove on medium heat. Stir the mixture until it boils.


Continue stirring to remove any lumps. Set a pan cover slightly askew and cook the mixture until it has the consistency of mashed potatoes. Keep a close watch on the pan and stir every few minutes to avoid burning.


Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Saturate a kitchen towel in cold water and wring out so it is damp rather than dripping. Place the towel over the mixture and allow it to cool.


Note: Do not be tempted to eat the dough! It looks just like frosting! My kids were begging to try a taste. I'm sure this is what is piped onto those great-looking demo cakes bakery windows.


Sprinkle cornstarch on a clean kitchen surface and knead the mixture once it has cooled until pliable, then use as desired. 


Tips: Knead in more corn starch, a little at a time, as needed if the dough is too "wet." Keeping a damp kitchen towel over the extra dough, it will keep for some time, though if you plan to keep it for more than a couple of days, you might want to add peppermint flavoring, as it can start to smell sour. Don't make your model too thick, or the clay may crack in the thicker areas.

Ours kept for about two weeks and we used the leftover dough to make Christmas ornaments.


Our finished cheetah model using the DIY modeling clay.

63 comments:

  1. Can't wait to try this! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are most welcome Jean. Please share photos of your creations with me and I'll try to post!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Perfect for my son's winter party at school. They are making snowmen and this is so much more economical! Thanks so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great idea, Mary! We are making ornaments with it this week for teacher gifts & stamping them (while soft) with "peace" stamps. Have fun!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I saw this on pinterest and can't wait to give it a try! And from looking around your blog it seems we're very close in location! Very cool to read a blog from someone in my neck of the woods! ;)

    ~Aleacia @ Dilly-Dali Art

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks Aleacia! I love the name Dilly-Dali Art. I checked out your great blog! I'm here in Winston-Salem, NC. Enjoy playing with the dough!

    -Kristi @ SouthernAsBiscuits

    ReplyDelete
  7. Kristi, just noticed that a copy of this post is here: http://forsythfamilymagazine.com/blog/?p=1568 Thought you'd like to know...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh, I would try this but crn starch gives me he hibbie gibbies. Chills just thinking about it. Maybe my husband will measure for me, because I love model magic!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks Jean! I blog for FF magazine too and they liked my dough post, so I reposted it for them. Thanks!

    Georgine, I understand! We prefer this recipe to salt dough for a number of reasons, but especially because my daughter can't have gluten (therefore flour), so, gluten-free dough!

    ReplyDelete
  10. do you have to place your finished model in the oven to set? I love this idea. I think I will try it at home first before I go back to work and do it with my 3- 4 year olds. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  11. We let our model air dry for 24 hours (just like with Model Magic). I'd love to see your finished products! Enjoy!

    Kristi
    SouthernAsBiscuits.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. OH I am so excited to try this! Thanks for posting!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you for sharing , my son and I just made it for a school project and I am just wondering how long it takes to dry?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Fox and Sparrows, I hope you enjoy!

    Jen, it really depends on the thickness of your project. Ours took about 24 hours to dry.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Kristi ~ About how much does this make? I'm looking for a cost effective way to make my own "clay" for our Wednesday Church classes (about 60 kids!) to make footprints. Just wondering how much to make! =)

    ReplyDelete
  16. The Freye's- hmm... good question. I didn't weigh it after making it, but from memory, I'd estimate it at close to three pounds if that helps. I'm assuming the feet you'd be imprinting are small? Depending on the size, I'd roughly guess one batch would make 15-20 small feet, depending on how thick you make them and how big each foot is. At least it's cheap to make, so after you make one batch you can decide how many more to make! Have fun! It sounds like a great project!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Does it keep well in a ziplock bag? I wonder if you could make it ahead of time....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It should keep up to a week, though some have reported a funny smell after a while and suggested adding vanilla or peppermint extract to the dough to eliminate the problem. I'd love to hear how it went!

      Delete
  18. Do you think if I made it a bit watery and poured it into a mould it would work too?
    From Emma

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So sorry I missed this comment! I have never tried that, so it's difficult to say, but I have found that the thicker the sculpture, the more likely it is to crack while drying, so if the mold is for thinner projects it might work! I'd love to hear back how it went!

      Delete
  19. Andrea, I haven't tried keeping it in a ziplock bag, but it seems like a good idea. Let me know!

    Emma, I haven't tried using it in a mold, but I'd advise against making it watery. It should go nicely in a mold as-is. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I used your recipe, but after a few days, it really starts to stink! If you add some vanilla, it's ok though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't have that problem, maybe because we kept it in the fridge in an airtight container, but I love the tip of adding vanilla! Peppermint might be nice too, if you're making Christmas ornaments! Thanks!

      Delete
  21. Oh! I didn't have the stink problem. Did you keep it in the fridge? Vanilla is a great idea.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I can't wait to make this. Do you think it would keep for long in a jar? These would make great party favors

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think storing it in a jar in the refrigerator would help it keep longer, but after a week or so, it may start to mold. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  23. I can't wait to try this. I was just wondering if it makes a mess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not really. We kept our hands damp when modeling the clay, as it helps keep it smooth, but it's not as messy as traditional play dough, in my opinion. Thanks!

      Delete
  24. I heart you. We are on a tight budget this year for Christmas and I've been wanting to do some clay things for Grandmas. You've really saved the day on this one! THANK YOU!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just made a batch and it turned out perfect!

      Delete
    2. So glad it worked for you, Melissa! It is great for ornaments!

      Delete
  25. I can't wait to use this with my boyfriend Jeff
    -Josh

    ReplyDelete
  26. thanks for the recipe for the medelling clay, I see you say that only need to leave 24 hours to dry, that is very exciting. What kind of piant or color you used in your model?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Edna!

      Thicker sections of the clay may take longer. We used cheap craft paint for the model. He still looks great over a year later! Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  27. Can you add food coloring to make colored dough??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't tried that, as we've always painted afterwards, but it's worth a try. It make take quite a bit to achieve vivid color. The food coloring gels might produce more vivid colors. I'd love to hear if it works for you!

      Delete
  28. Greetings from Australia,
    How long does it take for the sculpture to dry out? Do you have to seal the model/sculpture in a sealing agent to preserve it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Drying time depends on a few factors.The thicker the sculpture, the longer it takes to dry (also the thicker, the more likely it is to crack while drying). Humidity is also a factor. It took approximately 4 days for the cheetah sculpture pictured to dry. Ornaments similar in size to cookies take about 1-1.5 days.

      Delete
  29. I would just like to say that this was easy to make. We are going to make valentine's with it. I am a grandma of three and always looking for projects for the kiddies to do to keep them busy. I would just like to say that it would be best to use an old pot because It took off the finish on the bottom of my pot,it didn't burn so anyway, Just a little note for a heads up. I thought it might and didn't listen to my instinct.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, no! So sorry it took the finish off your pot! I don't use pots with coatings on them, so I was not aware. Thanks for letting us know!

      Delete
  30. This was fun to make and play with, but ours did not dry well. As it is drying it is cracking all over the place. I'm not sure their figures will hold up until they are completely dry. It's a definite fun play-dough alternative, but not for air drying...for us, anyway. It just didn't work. Unless I did something wrong making it. It was moldable, although not good for detailed work. In all, it was worth the effort because the children had fun, but wasn't what I was hoping it to be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So sorry it didn't work out for your project. I have noticed that the thicker the item, the more it cracks while drying. Since then we've stuck to the thickness of, say a kielbasa, and flatter, cookie-like ornaments.

      Delete
  31. Kristi,

    I have been looking for a good alternative to expensive doughs to make dino eggs out of for my son's birthday party. I know that the tradition Crayola Model Magic is made to work with the washable markers (since I dont trust sixteen 4 year olds with paint). Do you know how the markers will take to the homemade dough?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've mostly painted ours, but we did add details (like eyes, nose, whistlers) with markers and it worked great!

      Delete
  32. We are definately going to do this, possibly for Valentine's Day! I will try to post a pic of the final product. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be great! I'd love to see pics!-Kristi

      Delete
  33. Love this idea. We just made play dough with ours and the kids love it. Posting a link to you in our post tomorrow. Thanks for the inspiration. (Momma's Fun World)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad the kids loved it Catherine! We made heart ornaments with it for Valentine's Day! Thanks in advance for sharing! -Kristi

      Delete
  34. Can I put Saran wrap on the mixture, when it's ready, and seal it in it ?

    ReplyDelete
  35. Did anyone mention how incredibly easy this is to clean up from the pot? It just dissolves away, thanks to the baking soda and corn starch. What a pleasure after so many non easy times cleaning out a pot after making traditional play dough!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point Evelyn! Thanks so much for sharing!

      Delete
  36. Thank you for sharing this! I am attempting to make the "unless" rocks for save the date invites. I was going to roll them out into 1/2 inch thick oval and stamp the letters in. With this thickness do you think I will have cracking? Also for anyone that has tried to color- I am going for a gray so any tips on how to get that with food coloring would be appreciated!- Brandy

    ReplyDelete
  37. This stuff is awesome! Way, way, way better then salt dough!
    Thank you for sharing!
    My daughter will play with it for hours! She loves it! We made different colors (primary colors) with food coloring. We will not be going back to salt dough any time soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you and your daughter enjoyed it! Great idea to dye it different colors.

      Delete
  38. Can you freeze it to speed up the process? I'm trying to make a shoe mold so i can make my baby a pair of shoes so I was wondering how tough is this? will it break easily?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Michelle! I've never tried freezing it, but I would think it would need to air dry. Thicker parts do crack easily, but I've only broken pieces that I dropped, but then, we usually just put them on a shelf when we're done, we don't "work" or play with them as functional pieces.

      Delete
  39. Did your cheetah use all the clay from a single batch or did you have to make more?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Hayley! The cheetah (which is roughly 6 inches long) took not quite half of this batch. Hope that helps!

      Delete
  40. hi um im trying to use this for my art project and i was wondering if you used liquid or powdered corn starch?and if it would make a big difference to the texture?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rina! I've only used powdered corn starch. I hope it turns out beautifully!

      Delete
  41. OMG THANKS SO MUCH. I NEED THIS KIND OF CLAY FOR MY SCHOOL PROJECT.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Idea! In order to be able to keep creations thinner so as to help prevent cracking (since the thicker, the greater risk of cracking during longer dry time) try making a base frame out of cardboard, wire, etc & building on to it This would provide extra support allowing you to sculpt thinner, ie quicker dry time, less risk of cracking! Just a thought from a fellow DIY mom, hope it helps!

    ReplyDelete